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Residents unaware of climate action plan proposals and $57B price tag

Questions were asked at a recent candidates’ debate focused on climate

August 29, 2022

Interest in Ottawa’s $57B Energy Evolution climate action plan is picking up.

And as we suspected, most Ottawa citizens don’t know a thing about it, despite Ottawa’s pledge of “engagement.”

The Energy Evolution plan was approved by Council in October of 2020, mere months into the pandemic, when people had a lot on their minds.

Now, during the campaign for election of a new Mayor and council seats, questions are coming up.

At a recent mayor candidate debate for example (not attended by front-runners Bob Chiarelli or Mark Sutcliffe) Catherine McKenney was asked about the Energy Evolution plan and specifically about the call for 710 industrial-scale wind turbines. “Taller than the Peace Tower,” the questioner said (Not true: they are more like a 60-storey office tower).

Energy Evolution is full of “bold ideas” McKenney responded, but added that they could not recall that wind power had precedence over anything else. Emissions-reduction and solar energy was the focus, McKenney said.

Here’s the problem: McKenny sits on the city’s environmental protection committee and would have heard climate manager Andrea Flowers say this in a meeting in May in answer to a question from Councillor Scott Moffatt:

“What we put forward as part of this motion as a broader picture is if there are sufficient resources we would look at a Distributed Energy Resource for city-owned facilities and land. We have explicitly said that would include renewable energy generation both wind and solar as we have specified in Energy Evolution.”

So, yes, wind, lots of wind, and McKenney should know it.

The question and McKenney’s answer may be viewed here.

A candidate for Council running in the Knoxdale-Merivale ward has taken aim at the Energy Evolution plan (did we mention the $57B?) and spoken out against it in his campaign.

Joseph Ben-Ami is telling taxpayers that they are going to be shocked at the price tag on the Energy Evolution plan, and at the things proposed in it such as banning natural gas appliances, and installing wind turbines. A video of his campaign statement is here.

Ward 21 candidate David Brown has also spoken out against the Energy Evolution plan, and the proposal for wind turbines. In an article published in The Manotick Messenger, Brown pointed out that wind power is consistently unreliable and asks why Ottawa is planning to build hundreds of under-performing, noise polluting wind turbines.

“They certainly won’t be built downtown,” Brown adds. They will be built in Ottawa’s rural communities, causing “irrevocable damage to farmland, wildlife and residents” while causing “energy poverty” for many people, especially those with low or fixed incomes.

Fellow Ward 21 candidate Leigh-Andrea Brunet has also spoken on the urban-rural divide in Ottawa and cautioned that Ottawa needs to be careful to develop policies that promote equality, not division.

There are many weeks to go in the campaign and lots of opportunities to ask questions of candidates.

All-candidates’ meetings are being scheduled: the North Gower Community Association is sponsoring one on September 19th for Ward 21, 7 PM at Alfred Taylor Centre; Manotick Village Community Association is also Ward 21, also plans an event, date TBA.

We are unaware of any meetings scheduled in West Carleton. Please let us know of any events scheduled.